I've been wanting to post this little thing here for a while now. I found an old word doc on my computer that I wrote for a friend of mine. I feel that I gotta share it with you guys.
Most of us want to be better at drawing. Sometimes we don't feel confident with the way we draw. Even worse, sometimes we feel like we don't want to draw anymore. These little tips (I forget about them myself many times) have helped me through high school all the way through to today and I think it could help you guys to.
1) Tell yourself, "Can I draw for another hour?" Here's what I do now whenever I'm losing that urge to draw, thanks to Bobby Chiu (a great artist). I think of a person who's had it worse than me. Like policeman, soldiers, and firefighters. Bobby Chiu used Jackie Robinson as a great example; he was the first black man to play major league baseball. He loved baseball so much he went out to play, even though every game Jackie knew he was going to be booed at, hissed at, people going to make fun of him for being black. When he was batting, pitchers from the other team would aim at his head. Imagine the pressure he had to endure, the strength he had to summon to go onto that field, knowing that people hate him, just to do what he loved to do. Now all you have to say to yourself is "and I can't draw for another hour?" A link to Bobby Chiu's site!
2) Do something new, every day. Try drawing something that you're not used to, like still life. Heck, forget drawing, try painting, watercolor, or sculpting, or photography, dance, sing, write. As long as it's new, it's good for you!
3) Get influenced! Don't look at Dev Art or Newgrounds pages for long, or other artists, including me. Look at where you live, your environments. Remember what you've experienced in your life and try to put that on paper. No one else in this world or at any other time period has experienced what you been through, seen what you seen, felt what you felt. Use that to your art, it's called your originality. But you have to draw everyday to master it, to truly discover your "style". Learn drawing techniques so it'll become easier to reach that point. No one ever got worse by drawing doodles and quick sketches. Here's a link to help how to properly use influence.
4) Remember compliments and criticisms people give you, forget the insults. One reason why I don't visit Dev Art anymore is because people just don't get better being told "Wow, you're a great artist!" Don't be a baby when someone critiques your stuff. You might want to listen to what he/she has to say. There's nothing you can do to stop insults from coming, but you can forget them. If there is one thing humans are good at, it's forgetting.
5) Draw everyday! So what if it looks like crap, you're drawing something! Take a few minutes out of your time to draw. You say your drawings look like crap, so does mine and everyone else. But you don't see that crappy stuff in portfolios do you? You only see the finished piece or just the stuff they want you to see. No one gets it right the first time. I can safely say later in your life, you'll draw something and say "This looks like crap, but it sure does look a lot better than this 6 month old drawing I made".
Now this last part is the most important! It's not as feel good as the rest of the points but I have to address it! It's the part where it's up to you to apply the previous points into practice!
6) Learn real drawing skills. Do you want to have people look at your work and say "That was drawn by a pro"? Learn your basic principles of animation! All you need is an $8 Preston Blair book and six months to a year of dedication and discipline, and from then on the rest is up to you! Here is a link to get you started:
---Update - 8/4/08---
Here's a good comment from ahaarchive which I believe should be here for you all to see. It involves the sixth tip:
Quote from Leeraji: "One thing concerns me which is what if I dont want to draw in a classical old fashioned style? What if I want my style to be more realistic and detailed? Is the book still for me?"
Learning to animate is different than learning a style. The Preston Blair book doesn't teach a style. It teaches you to draw volumetrically. In order to move a character through dimensional space, you need to be able to break it down into its constituent forms, envision how those forms look from different angles and distort them in a controlled manner. It's a LOT easier to do that with a character based on simple bean shapes than it is with a realistic character with a million different angles and variations in shapes.
Once you absorb the principles of construction, squash and stretch and basic anatomy in Blair's book, you can start applying them to more complex forms. But starting out animating on realistic characters is a sure path to frustration. It would be like a beginner sitting down to learn to play the piano by tackling Beethoven's Hammerklavier sonata.
Beginning artists shouldn't even attempt to have a style. Style isn't something you choose. It chooses you. Focus on learning the fundamental principles, and then look for other people's work that you like the way those principles are applied. Those choices are what lead to style. Some artists develop a personal style... others never do. Either way is fine. The biggest mistake you can make is forcing yourself to draw in someone else's style.
If you can master the Preston Blair exercises... and I mean REALLY draw them well... you can animate anything. But be careful not to mistake simplicity for easiness. Those ten lessons in the $100k Animation Drawing Course take six months to a year to master. It's a lot more difficult than it looks. But it's worth it.
This guy knows what he's talking about. I have a pretty good idea who he is.
Also, support the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive. It's jam-packed with great info on cartoonists, rare prints, and examples of what a well created cartoon/illustration is. Without the Animation Archive, you would actually have to pay around $100,000 to see everything that website offers for free!
---End of Update---
Finally, I will end this post with this link to a *video of Ralph Bakshi at comic-con. He has something to say to all you guys.
*The reason I did not embed the video is because the video says for me to ask permission from Stephen Worth of ASIFA-Hollywood, which I don't have. I always ask for permissions. That's just the way I am.